One of my first memories as a baseball fan came one day when my aunt and uncle took me to a game at Royals Stadium in Kansas City.
To my amazement, we were very close to the action and just a few feet away from the dugout of the hometown heroes.
"Keep your eyes open" my uncle said. "Those foul balls can come in pretty hot."
I had zero worry for my safety, of course, but me and my cousins were captivated at the thought of getting a foul ball of our very own.
We started our campaign during batting practice as everyone scrambled to get the home run balls and fouls that managed to leave the field and cause a mini-riot in the stands.
No luck, but I was sure we would get a ball because of our field box seats.
Nine innings and several close-calls later, I was empty-handed, but not dejected. I still had hope. I may have prayed.
Even as the Royals walked off the field with the win, I didn't give up. Standing at the dugout to cheer the victory, I waited for the players to file toward the locker room. All the regulars passed by, the trainers, coaches, and finally the bullpen pitchers made their way in from the outfield.
We kept cheering, and sure enough, reliever Doug Bird looked up at these crazy kids who wouldn't go home. He tossed me the ball he was using to warm up!
Some 40+ years later, I still have that ball -- a reminder that hopes and prayers sometimes come true at the ballpark.